Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How to Escape a Wild Boar...and Get in Shape.

I took the pull-up bar out of the box, and as I assembled it, I wondered how long it would be before it was collecting dust in a corner or being sold for a nickel at the next garage sale. After I had it assembled and installed in the door frame between the hallway and the guest room, I hung there, in a vein attempt to do a pull-up as part of the “fit test” before starting a fitness program called P90X. To say that I did a pull-up would be a stretch, I just sort of dangled, flexing and grunting, thinking that the 20 pounds I’d put on over the last five years wouldn’t affect my ability to pull myself up. Why I would ever need to pull myself up is beyond me, I guess if I was being chased by a wild boar and needed to get up into a tree quickly, then being able to do a pull-up might be handy, but besides wild animals, my life didn’t really require pull-ups.

As a matter of fact, my life is probably the reason I couldn’t do a pull-up. Sitting in an airplane every day, and for the last year, making upwards of six trips to Europe every month, eating first class meals along the way, was probably one of the reasons I’d put on 20 pounds. I’m not sure what it was that motivated me to finally get in shape; maybe it was looking at pictures of me at family get-togethers, pictures that reflected more than the ten pounds the camera supposedly adds, or maybe it was hearing about a fellow co-worker, just a few years older than me, dying from a heart attack. Whatever it was, I needed to get in shape before it was too late - enter P90X.

P90X is a revolutionary home fitness regimen designed at confusing your muscles by constantly switching up your workout routine. It’s a 90 day program that involves cardio, resistance training, yoga, martial arts, and plyometrics. The 90 day course has three training blocks. Each block has three weeks of intensity, followed by one week of recovery. Within each block, there are three phases; (1) The Adaptive Phase when the body learns how to do the new exercises, (2) The Mastery Phase when the body responds to these exercises and experiences changes, and (3) The Recovery Phase when muscular healing occurs and your body grows strong, ready to be “confused” again.

Day 1 just about had me packing up the DVD’s and sending them back. There was sweating, swearing, grunting, and by the end...complete exhaustion. My muscles hated me, but the endorphins in my brain were firing on all cylinders now, and I had that “good sore” that you hear athletes talk about after a great workout. Day 2 was plyometrics, which for those who don’t know, plyometrics is jump training. I’m not really sure why more people don’t send these DVD’s back because after an hour of jumping around the guest room, which was now “the gym”, I was fairly confident I was in over my head. But, for some reason, Day 3 came, then Day 4, Day 5, and so on. I kept hitting “Play”, and kept working out, and before I knew it, a month had come and gone, then two months, and finally the last day was here.

Erin decided to participate in the program as well, believe me though, I didn’t tell her to. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after being married for five years, it’s that you don’t tell your wife that she needs to start a workout program. She stuck with it, sometimes working out in the morning, and other times after work, but she hit “Play” just as many times as I did.

Some days were better than others, but I can honestly say that I kept at it and even if it meant waking up at 4:30 AM before I left for the airport, I would get up and do it. I worked out in my hotel rooms too. After flying across the ocean all night, I’d take a nap and the first thing I’d do in the afternoon is P90X, then I’d do it again the next morning, which often meant waking up at 5:00 AM...in Europe!

I kept an eye on what I was eating and the pounds started to drop. The first time I weighed myself, I honestly thought the scale was broken. The first 5 pounds came off quick, after that I had to work a little harder, but at the end of 90 days, I had lost a total of 23 pounds. I’m still not Superman, but I’m planning on Round 2 later this summer. Oh, and as far as pull-ups go, I can now do six with good form. Sure, six pull-ups isn’t much, but it only takes one to get away from a wild boar.

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